Sashiko for Spring

Sashiko for Spring, by Saké PuppetsAh, sashiko for Spring. This is a bag pattern I reverse-engineered from a cotton gift bag I received while living in Japan. It was given to me while staying at a ryokan, so you can carry a few belongings as you wander in your yukata from breakfast to nap time to the bath and back again. I love the way the two handles tie together — loosely to slide over your wrist or elbow like a handbag, or tightly like a pouch to prevent treasures from falling out. I added some freeform sashiko geometry on one side, and used my sashiko sampler pattern for the other. Sashiko for Spring, by Saké Puppets sakepuppets.comSashiko Sampler by Saké Puppets. Pattern available at sakepuppets.etsy.comThe bag is lined in old nani IRO double gauze, a scrap I had stashed in the depths of a craft box that followed me from Tokyo. Honestly, nothing compliments sashko-in-angles better than a light, floral nani IRO.Sashiko for Spring, by Saké Puppets sakepuppets.comWell hello, Spring.

Saké Puppets around the Web

Hello! I thought I’d share a quick update on some things happening around the Saké Puppets studio. First, I am very excited to share that I am now contributing to the Miss Matatabi Makers, where each month I’ll be sewing a new project with the delightful Japanese fabrics available in Miss Matatabi’s shop. You can take the girl out of Japan, but she’ll take the fabric with her. (^_−)−☆

Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi MakersRiding Peplum by Saké Puppets for Miss Matatabi MakersClick on over to check out my first post, the new Riding Peplum pattern by April Rhodes in JUBILEE cotton lawn. Whoosh!

I also recently contributed a sashiko tutorial and coaster pattern to Kindred Stitches, a digital hand-craft magazine available on the Apple Newsstand. There are some very sweet projects included in the Japanese issue, so if you are interested, head on over to iTunes to check it out.

Handmade gift wrap ideas for the holidays – - – sashiko furoshiki!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In the midst of the madness that is my overseas move, I decided to release two new sashiko patterns. Yessir! sashiko furoshiki by Saké PuppetsInspired by Japan’s gift-giving culture, I made sashiko-embellished furoshiki for the holidays. Furoshiki are cloths used for gift wrapping and they create lovely, elegant packages. The fanciest of gifts are always wrapped in furoshiki cloths. In addition, furoshiki are often considered a gift themselves, and can be used as tablecloths, scarves, or tied into handbags.

furoshiki as tablecloth by Saké Puppets

I have also been thinking about how to make holiday gift wrap more sustainable. From year to year my family tends to save and reuse ribbons and bags, so why not throw a few furoshiki in the mix as well? 

The first pattern was inspired by winter snowflakes, which I love to sashiko stitch onto indigo fabric because they evoke memories of quiet snow falling late at night. The pattern can be repeated to create a border design or fit into corners.

sashiko snowflakes by Saké PuppetsThe second pattern is a simple modern sampler. I originally created this design to use on iPad or tablet cases, but discovered it makes for a beautiful furoshiki as well. One of the wonderful things about sashiko patterns is that they can be embroidered anywhere! The pattern is a 25 cm square (9 7/8″) that can be sized up or down to your liking.

Sashiko is great for iPad, tablet and Kindle cases, pattern by Saké PuppetsBoth patterns are available for download on Etsy, along with several other patterns that are also well-suited for furoshiki. Check back here soon for tutorials on how to make and wrap furoshiki, and click over here for step-by-step instructions on how to embroider with sashiko.

Happy holidays everyone!

Persimmon Flowers Sashiko

ImageFinishing this sashiko project was like a deep sigh of relief.  Finally, I did it.

I bought this pre-printed pattern from Hobbyra Hobbyre last summer and have worked on it on-and-off since. This style of sashiko is called hitomezashi, or one-stitch sashiko. Hitomezashi is typically done on a grid with over-under stitches, each stitch and space equal in length and, if done neatly, is reversible. I know you think that is crazy talk, but I’ve seen it done and it is amazing. All you quilters and embroiderers out there know what I mean — typically the first thing I do when examining someone’s work is look at the back, right?! How do they hide all those ends? Well, I know how they do it; turns out I’m just lazy.

hitomezashi sashiko by Saké PuppetsNeedless to say, mine is not reversible. Hobbyra patterns (as well as Olympus) come printed on double-wide cotton, so you can fold and stitch through two layers or use the extra fabric to cover the ugly back when you are finished. This pattern is called kaki no hana, the flower of a persimmon.

This pre-printed pattern was a good introduction to hitomezashi, it just took me a long time to finish. I got bored and put it away, would pick it up again for a week or so, get bored, move on to something else …. you know how it goes. But now I’m so glad I saw it through.

* Update: want the pattern? Now you can find it here!

kaki no hana, persimmon flowers sashiko by Saké Puppets

Summer Sashiko Season

Happy Marine Day everyone! Today is 海の日, a holiday to celebrate and give thanks for the sea. Many people use this 3-day weekend as an excuse for a beach vacation and to me it feels a bit like Memorial Day in the US — the weekend that marks start of summer festival season.

I love hanabi and matsuri season in Japan, and last year I posted this free sashiko pattern to celebrate. Hanabi, the Japanese word for fireworks, roughly translates to “fire flowers” though sometimes in Tokyo you’ll see fire shapes like fire Hello Kitty or fire sushi. No joke. I’m convinced that’s what I saw. ;)

fire flowersfire flowers free sashiko patternClick here to download the free PDF pattern.

Happy summer!

Shop sale!

A quick note to share the new kits I just posted in my web shop.

sashiko stash bust!Whew! Say that 5 times fast!

I’m cleaning out my craft closet, which means I gathered all my random bits and pattern pieces and put together some discounted surprise samplers. What fun! For me and hopefully for you, too.

This sashiko grab-bag includes everything you’ll need to make 4 coasters, including a surprise selection of patterns and fabrics. You’ll get a random yet well-coordinated assortment. Let’s get a little sampler-dangerous. 

What, you don’t think embroidery is dangerous and edgy? Then we need to spend more time together, and I’ll show you a stabbin’ dangerous time. (^_-)-☆

More info on the kits here. Thanks!

Sashiko Picnic

Today the weather was beautiful. I packed a lunch, hopped on my bike and peddled out for an impromptu picnic.sashiko bentospring sakura sashikoMy neighborhood has a take-away karaage (fried chicken) shop which proves irresistible at lunchtime when they stack bentos in the front window. Next door is a sweets shop, so into my bike’s basket went a sakura-shaped sugar cookie for dessert.springtime picnic lunchsakura wasanbonThe sakura trees are just starting to bloom in Tokyo. I found a few over-achieving blossoms that had already fallen and scooped them up to take along. The wasanbon cookie was stuffed with azuki red bean paste and much too sweet for my liking. It looked pretty anyway.sakura trioThe footpath that runs through Setagaya is lined with small gardens, play areas, and occasionally a small stream. As I ate my lunch I dropped the blossoms into the water. They meandered about 5 or 6 meters before getting caught on a rock. A bit later a small girl noticed them and plucked one out, very proud of her find.floating sakuraAh, spring.

In With the New: To-Do for 2013

snowy american sunrise

Yesterday I shared last year’s to-do list and how well I did checking things off. It feels good to keep a list and look back a year later, to see how your year changed from the one you had imagined. I might not have accomplished everything on my list, but keeping an eye on it throughout the year gave a good push to keep trying new things.

I’m stepping into this year tentatively, like I am dipping my toes into water — will it be refreshing? Too hot? Will I turn and run and hide under my towel? We shall see. Here is the list for 2013:

Cook 12 new recipes. I am putting this on the list again, even though last year I failed miserably at it. I want to cook more, and if this list gives me even a little bit of encouragement it will be a positive gain. I’d love to learn more traditional Japanese dishes, so perhaps I’ll even treat myself to a cooking class.

Read 8 books. I’m upping the ante from 5 last year. Recommendations?

Visit 6 new places. This is achievable so I’m sticking with it. If I could go anywhere? The mountains of Chile, Alaska, New Zealand. Where might I go? Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, or a romp through northern Japan. I’d love to find a hike to a secret little outdoor onsen in the mountains.

Sew 6 new garments. My new sewing hobby has me obsessed. I’d like to learn more skills this year, and make a fitted and lined dress, pants, and a jacket or blazer. I vow to not be afraid to cut into expensive fabrics.

Make a gigantic sashiko art piece. A last-minute addition. Why not?!

Publish something. An article or an encyclopedia (dream big!), it doesn’t matter.

2013? Let’s do this.

Sashiko Snowflake Ornament, a free pattern download

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Perhaps you’ve already finished your holiday crafting. Me? I’ll be stitching until 2 am on Christmas Eve. I do it every year, no matter how much planning or preparation I’ve put into my projects. Now I prefer it this way. A quiet Christmas eve, low lamp light, warm tea and hand stitching.

If you also want to hide with a stitching project, here is a little gift for you — a snowflake sashiko ornament pattern. (Click here to download the PDF.) Thanks for stopping by Saké Puppets! Wishing everyone a spirited winter holiday! ☆彡

sashiko snowflake

Holiday shipping announcement for sashiko kits and gifts

Hello! Just a quick note to share that today is the last day for worry-free delivery by December 24th for purchases from my online shop. There are still many sashiko embroidery kits and a few gift items available, so please have a look if you fancy. Also, use the coupon code CHEER for 10% off your purchase!

sashiko DIY

Not to worry, express shipping is available until December 17th. Need some help deciding? Check out my gift guide for inspiration.

Happy holidays!